In the grueling and insane world of college admissions, it is getting harder and harder for applicants to stand out from the pool of students applying to college. Almost every kid applying to schools such as Ivy Leagues have great grades, test scores, and essays, so extracurricular activities is the category that distinguishes one applicant from another. Nowadays, playing a varsity sport or instrument and/or being in National Honor Society or another community service club is expected if not the norm for kids, so students have become more and more creative with the activities they participate in. However, more than solely participating in such activities for college, these uncommon extracurricular activities are fun, interesting, and are taking high schools by storm.
Rowing has always been popular in the Northeast, and many Ivy League schools recruit kids for this very sport. Recently, it has become more prevalent in all geographic areas. I live in the South, and our high schools do not have rowing teams, but there are organizations that offer circuits for competitive rowing. At first sight rowing does not seem challenging, but you need amazing upper body strength and a sense of teamwork to be a successful rower. There are also many rowing scholarships available. It is a different sport that, if you dedicate yourself, could possibly pay for your college.
Fencing is often depicted in movies as a sport in which people jab at one another with a sword, but it is a legitimate extracurricular activity. My school has a fencing club that travels to compete in competitions, and many colleges offer scholarships for fencing. If you are not particularly a fast runner, then fencing may be your calling. You have to be quick on your feet in a small setting and have fast reflexes, but it is one of the few sports in which you do not have to handle a ball.
You typically do not hear about high school diving teams, but almost every school has one. School sports that do not practice on campus are usually overlooked or unacknowledged, but they are still there! Diving is an easy sport to get into if you are a gymnast or cheerleader, for you already have all the tricks down on land.
Many high schools do have an equestrian team, but usually this is not well known. Horseback riding is a great sport to get involved in if you have a love for animals, and the kids on the equestrian team at my school adore their horses. It’s definitely not a commonplace sport, but if you have the resources available to you, it is a great hobby or competitive sport to partake in.
Rugby has often been labeled as extremely dangerous and tough. For those athletic boys that need more than just soccer or just football, rugby is the perfect combination. Originally extremely popular in Australia, this physically demanding sport has made its way to the states, and more high school are beginning to make varsity teams. Colleges have also started offering scholarships, so naturally more people have become interested in this foreign sport.
Cricket is obviously an extremely popular sport in Europe, Asia, and Australia, so it has slowly gained recognition in the United States as well. As of now, the NCAA does not offer scholarships for cricket, but I’m sure that this will change in no time.
As an Olympic sport, it is surprising that more people do not know or participate in this activity. Judo is a form of martial arts from Japan, and is basically karate without the punching and kicking.
With more and more high schools providing the resources necessary to participate in these activities, kids are allowed to broaden their horizons with nontraditional high school sports. Students will impress colleges by taking part in these unique sports, and such activities are fun and different ways to get involved at school.